Many will run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased…

One of my favorite portions of Scripture to study the past couple of years has been The Book of Daniel. To this end, I’ve acquired a substantial library of commentaries on Daniel. For my fellow bibliophiles, I snapped a pic and inserted it at bottom of this post. So recently, I acquired a copy of a commentary by Uriah Smith. Smith died in 1903, but this particular edition of his commentary was published in the 1950’s. It is filled with various pictures classically definitive of the period, some of which I thought would be fun to share here.

The pictures below were featured in Smith’s commentary to highlight (according to the editors) the modern day fulfillment of Daniel 12:4. To preface, Daniel 12:4 is a verse that is very commonly misunderstood and misinterpreted. From the KJV, it reads as follows:

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

Many have read this verse to infer that the angel was speaking of an increase in global travel as well as the exchange of information. Virtually no interpreters affirm this view however. Instead, what most expositors see here is a reference to the fact that the scroll will be sealed, though many maskilim (wise teachers) would go over the scroll prayerfully and studiously, over and over (to and fro) throughout the centuries, seeking to understand it. As such, knowledge regarding the scroll would gradually increase until the last days, when it would essentially be unsealed to the rabbim (masses).

With this as the backdrop, you can see below why I found these two pages to be quite amusing and worthy of being shared:

  • Philip Brown
    Posted at 14:32h, 11 November

    The words of the scroll specifically answer the question, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (verse 6). These “wonders” include the resurrection (verse 2). So the natural question is, “When will it happen?” The disciples asked the same question, “What will be the signs of your coming and the end of the age?” (Mat. 24:3). The sign of the abomination was given in both answers. Wise people have studied the words, “to and fro.” Jesus gave us more information (signs). Jesus said, “When you see the abomination … let the reader [of Daniel] understand [the answer to the question].” John’s Revelation also gave us more information (signs). So knowledge about this question was increased. But only the end-time (baby-boom) generation will understand the signs enough to really understand the scroll. The answer to the question was sealed until the time of the end. But after WWII, Jesus began to break the seven seals of the scroll (Rev. 5:9). I think, however, Daniel 12:4 is also taking about the explosion of knowledge and travel during this end-time (baby-boom) generation since WWII.

  • Joel
    Posted at 13:38h, 12 November

    I can go with most of that Phillip. So long as the primary meaning is understood within the context of the “sealing” and “unsealing” of the book.

  • Joel
    Posted at 13:44h, 12 November

    I have seen those Marcus. Thanks.

  • Slamdunk
    Posted at 14:23h, 12 November

    I am so glad to learn of your understanding of Dan. 12:4. I don’t think “To and Fro” is about travel in the end times, but men going about seeking,finding and increasing their knowledge of the word, particularly eschatology.

  • Aaron Johnson
    Posted at 23:16h, 12 November

    Hi Joel How you doing? I was wondering if you think that sharia law will be established around the whole world and every country before the mahdi (Anti-christ) comes?

  • Joel
    Posted at 23:24h, 12 November

    I do not.

    I also wouldn’t use the language of the Mahdi coming. The Antichrist is coming. What he will claim to be or thought to be by others is only speculation.

  • Bryan Purtle
    Posted at 00:23h, 13 November

    Just fell into covetousness over your Daniel commentaries….

  • Joel
    Posted at 00:39h, 13 November

    Ha ha. You can see the hand-scrawled Saphir and Auberlen on the spine on the bottom far left. The pic doesn’t include my C.F. Keil, or the IVP Ancient Christian Commentary or the Reformers Commentary series. Any are yours to borrow anytime.

  • Jonathan Raspaud
    Posted at 03:56h, 13 November

    Interesting article in Jerusalem Post about relations between Turkey & Israel:

  • Tina Moore
    Posted at 19:38h, 16 November

    Oh the books!! Nice “Daniel” library!!

    God Bless –Tina

  • Gary Tarrant
    Posted at 23:49h, 14 September

    I wonder if the ‘many shall to and fro” is connected with knowledge being increased. I believe that the increased knowledge has to do with how John six hundred years in the future was to unseal (reveal) in more detail what Daniel prophesied about the Jewish people in the end times. John wrote the Book of Revelation before 100 A.D. during the two hundred years of the Pax Romana. The main innovation that the Roman Empire was characterized by was the 400,000 kms of roads that they developed including 80,000 kms of paved roads. To Daniel, who lived in a largely static age, this would account for his impression of “many going to and fro”.

  • Carol Campbell
    Posted at 13:59h, 03 September

    Hi Gary Tarrant. I agree that when the bible speaks of the end times it was mostly speaking of what would have happened to the post era of Jesus’ Resurrection and ascension. So Peter confirmed that Joel was prophesying about the entrance of the Baptism when he spoke about the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the last days according to acts chapter 2.

  • Binyamin
    Posted at 21:53h, 19 February

    So what you are saying is that the text is saying “seal up the book until the book is unsealed”? If it is talking about the Scripture being unlearned until it is learned that is a good paraphrase of what it would be saying. When we see the literal meaning of the text being literally fulfilled, we should realize that is exactly what was meant.

  • Cindy Baker
    Posted at 12:23h, 12 April

    I was looking up this verse about increased knowledge after I saw scientists have created an artificial DNA that is showing signs of life. The “to and fro” portion then came to mind because I had always pictured people running on a sidewalk where friction could power lights nearby. I heard about that sidewalk several years ago and that’s the first thing I thought. Just a thought.

  • Michael James wheeler
    Posted at 19:15h, 03 November

    Thank you for speaking, truth

Post A Comment